Has Not the Time Come For the Hearts of Those Who Believe to Be Affected by Allāh’s Reminder?
By: ʿAbdul-Ilāh Laḥmāmī (حفظه الله)
On Saturday 3rd November our noble teacher ʿAbdul-Ilāh Laḥmāmī conducted a lecture for the sisters at Masjid us sunnah as part of their monthly sisters’ gathering. The lecture was centred around the verse found in Surah Hadid, “Has Not the Time Come For the Hearts of Those Who Believe to Be Affected by Allāh’s Reminder? He reminds us that the hearts become hardened when they are heedless of Allah’s remembrance and that the only way to soften one’s heart is by way of dhikr (remembrance of Allah). Throughout the lecture, the listener can benefit from the various explanations from the scholars of the past regarding this heartfelt verse.
The female Ṣaḥābiyāt were firm and strong; they persevered and aided their husbands and families. They were patient and strove to remember Allāh, for they sought higher goals, which was to gain the Pleasure of Allāh in this life and in the Hereafter. They will reap the bounties and blessings of Allāh because of their perseverance upon the Remembrance of Allāh.
أَلاَ بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
“Verily with the Remembrance of Allāh do hearts find rest” 
There is a narration found in Tafsir al-Ṭabarī regarding the great scholar Fuḍayl b. ʿIyāḍ (رحمه الله) before he became a religious worshipper of Allāh. He was called to commit a sin by a woman, but whilst he was going towards her, he heard someone recite an āyah loudly in his household:
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ
“Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe (in the Oneness of Allāh – Islamic Monotheism) to be affected by Allāh’s Reminder (this Qurʾān), and that which has been revealed of the truth…” 
He responded to this by saying, “Rather, by Allāh that time has come. O Allāh I repent to You and have made my repentance for You.”
It is possible for anyone to fall into sins. Do not look to how small the sin is, but look at the Greatness of the One you are sinning against. As the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “The hypocrite sees his sin as a fly and he just brushes it off, but the believer sees his sin like a mountain ready to crumble and fall on his head.”
What is the state of our hearts? Have our hearts become hardened? The next part of the verse refers to those who have turned away from the Remembrance of Allāh and as a result their hearts became hardened.
وَلَا يَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَكَثِيرٌ مِنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ
“…lest they become as those who received the Scripture [the Tawrāt (Torah) and the Injīl (Gospel)] before (i.e. Jews and Christians), and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were Fāsiqūn (rebellious, disobedient to Allāh).”
[This refers to] those who turned away from the People of the Book: the Jews and the Christians. Those who did not act according to their knowledge [the Jews], and those who practised what their Prophets called them to without knowledge (the Christians).
In his Tafsir Shaykh al-Saʿdī (رحمه الله) commented upon this verse:
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ
He said, “Hasn’t that time come? That time when the hearts become softened and become humbled for the Remembrance of Allāh?”
Shaykh al-Saʿdī said that primarily, the Remembrance of Allāh is the Qurʾān. So we must ask ourselves, ‘How are we with the Qurʾān in terms of its recitation, pondering over it, learning how to recite it and acting upon what Allāh calls us to?’ The Qurʾān calls us to uprightness. Allah says,
إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ
“Verily, this Qurʾan guides to that which is most just and right” 
How are we with its commandments? Those hearts that are humbled comply to stay away from that which Allāh warned us against. The hearts are in constant need to be reminded with that which Allāh has revealed. With regards to sins, every time a person commits a sin, a black spot enters his heart, as in the ḥadīth of Abū Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) where the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “When a servant commits a sin a black spot enters his heart, so if he desists and makes repentance, then his heart is cleansed. And if he returns to the sin, the black spot is increased until it takes over the heart.” 
كَلَّا بَل رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ مَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ
“Nay! But on their hearts is the Rān (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.” 
Sins kill the heart so, be careful what your eyes witness and what your ears hear. Shaykh ʿUthaymin (رحمه الله) said, “Whatever you see and hear will enter your heart. So what is it that you see and what is it that you hear?”
ʿAbdullāh b. al-Mubārak (رحمه الله) said, “I see that sinning kills the heart and committing sins persistently will result in despicableness. Abandoning sins gives life to the heart and rebelling against it (sins) is better for yourself. Has anything destroyed the dīn except evil kings, evil kings, evil scholars and evil monks?” These lines of poetry are mentioned in Sharḥ ʿAqīdah al-Ṭahawiyyah.
The Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would supplicate:
يَا مُقَلِّبَ القُلُوبِ ثَبِّت قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِكَ
“O Changer of the hearts, turn my heart to Your Dīn.” 
And whilst walking to the masjid the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would say:
اللهم اجعل في قلبي نورًا وفي سمعي نورًا وفي بصري نورًا وفي لساني نورًا وفي شعري نورًا وفي بشري نورًا وفي عظمي نورًا وفي لحمي نورًا وفي دمي نورًا، اللهم اجعل أمامي نورًا وخلفي نورًا وعن يميني نورًا وعن شمالي نورًا، وفوقي نورًا وتحتي نورًا، اللهم أعطني نورًا وزدني نورًا وأعظم لي نورًا 
[In this duʿāʾ, you are] asking Allāh for light; for light to be placed in your heart. Shaykh ʿUbayd al-Jābirī mentioned that this means guidance. We need guidance for our hearts; we need our hearts to be enlightened with the guidance of Allāh.
Shaykh al-Saʿdī continued, “It is not befitting that one is heedless regarding the remembrance of Allāh, for this is a reason for the hardness of the heart and the dryness of the eyes.”
Ask yourself, when was the last time you cried?
Ibn ʿAbbās said regarding the verse, “Has the time not come for the hearts of those who believe to be affected by Allāh’s Reminder?”, “They were inclined to the dunyà and they turned away from the warnings of Allāh.”
Their hearts became so hard that they turned to the affairs of this world. They turned away from the remembrance of Allāh, which would soften their hearts, and they did not give it importance. They abandoned their morning and evening adhkār (supplications of remembrance), they did not maintain their five daily prayers, they abandoned their adhkār after the prayers and their adhkār before they sleep, their adhkār during the rain, thunder or when they board a form of transport, and as a result their hearts became hardened. However, with regards to the affairs of the dunyà, then they are fully aware (and not negligent).
يَعْلَمُونَ ظَاهِرًا مِنَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ عَنِ الْآخِرَةِ هُمْ غَافِلُونَ
“They know only the outside appearance of the life of the world (i.e. the matters of their livelihood, like irrigating or sowing or reaping, etc.), and they are heedless of the Hereafter.” 
Ḥassan al-Baṣrī (رحمه الله) commented on this verse and said, “To the extent that if you were to give them gold, they would be able to know its value just by weighing it with their hand.”
That is how in touch they are with affairs of this world. However, when it comes to the remembrance of Allāh they say, ‘O, it’s difficult! Where’s the time?’ Excuses after excuses! People are busying themselves with all of these different applications on the internet. Where is the time for the dhikr of Allāh? Where is the time that they would use this phone to read Qurʾān from it or to research and look at Tafsir and meanings of verses, and to study and learn that which benefits them?
Rather, we find many are too busy sending pictures on Snapchat and Facebook; what I’m doing and what I didn’t do and where I’m going, where I’m not going—wasting a lot of time.
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ
What time have we placed for the Dhikr of Allāh if our entire life is busy? We return from work and our evenings are diverted with this app and that app and Social Media. Some people have 3, 4, 5, 6,7 different apps, as though one is not enough! What time do you have for the Dhikr of Allāh? What time do you have for the Qurʾān?
Al-Baghawī said regarding this verse, ” llāh forbids the believers from being like the Jews and Christians with regards to the Qurʾān. Those whose hearts became hardened as time passed and they continued to turn away from the Remembrance of Allāh.”
Al-Qurṭubī in his Tafsir said that this verse means, “Isn’t it time, O my heart, to leave ignorance?”
When are we going to learn our dīn and learn about Ṭahārah, Ḥajj, Ṣalāh and Fasting? When are we going to leave ignorance and remove it from ourselves?
Ibn Kathīr said regarding the verse, “Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe to be affected by Allāh’s Reminder” means six things:
- The heart becomes softened upon the Remembrance of Allāh. Whether you are reciting or listening to the Qurʾān, your heart becomes soft as soon as you recite and listen to it. You yourself are softened, gentle and kind because these are the manners Allāh has taught us.
- The heart is softened upon the warnings and exhortations regarding the punishment of the grave, the Hellfire and death that is coming.
- The heart softens upon hearing the Qurʾān.
- The heart softens such that it understands the Qurʾān. The more you understand this Dīn, the more your heart will soften.
- The heart softens once it complies to the commandments of Allāh and stays away from the prohibitions.
- The heart softens once one obeys Allāh.
So when is the time for our hearts to be softened? For our hearts to turn back? To repent daily?
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
“Do they not then think deeply in the Qurʾān, or are their hearts locked up (from understanding it)?”
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا
“Do they not then consider the Qurʾān carefully? Had it been from other than Allāh, the would surely have found therein much contradiction.” 
Allāh described Ibrāhīm coming to Him with a pure heart:
إِذْ جَاءَ رَبَّهُ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ
“When he came to his Lord with a pure heart [attached to Allah Alone and none else, worshipping none but Allah Alone true Islamic Monotheism, pure from the filth of polytheism].” 
فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعْمَى الْأَبْصَارُ وَلَٰكِنْ تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ
“Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.” 
The problem we face is the condition of our hearts; our hearts are diseased. They need a cure, and the cure is the Remembrance of Allāh.
فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّهُ مَرَضًا
“In their hearts is a disease [of doubt, disbelief and hypocrisy], so Allāh increased their disease [by subjecting them to trials in which they preferred disbelief].” 
So we need to reflect upon our hearts. We need attentive hearts, hearts that are sincere, hearts upon the Remembrance of Allāh. Remember Allāh much and He will remember you.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَنْصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنْصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ
“O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm.” 
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ فِي الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَعَنِ الصَّلَاةِ ۖ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُنْتَهُونَ
“Shayṭān (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allāh and from al-Ṣalāt (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain?” 
Reflect: Shayṭān wants to keep us away from the Dhikr of Allāh because he knows it is a great weapon against him and a means to come close to Allāh. The best friend is the one who reminds you of the dhikr of Allāh. He reminds you to arm yourself with the Remembrance of Allāh.
لا يزال لسانك رطباً من ذكر الله
“Make your tongue continuously moist with the Dhikr of Allāh.”
We ask Allāh to give us pure hearts that are sincere and want to please and remember Him. May Allah protect us from heedlessness. Hearts that are alive are hearts that are upon the Remembrance of Allāh. The example of the one who remembers Allāh and one who does not is like the example of the living and the dead. If you want to live a real life, then real living is the life of a pure heart upon the Remembrance of Allāh. That is a remembrance that the Messenger came with, not the remembrance of the Sufīs and misguided groups that make up their own types of dhikr. We suffice ourselves with what the Messenger Allāh has given us.
Be upon the Remembrance of Allāh daily. Say, Subhān Allāh, al-Ḥamdu Lillāh, Lā ilāha ila Allāh and Allāhu Akbar. Adhkar after the prayer and Āyat al-Kursī after each prayer, as there is nothing between you and Paradise except death if you recite Āyat al-Kursī after each prayer. Maintain the five daily prayers, enjoy the Qurʾān, enjoy your prayers, enjoy your sujūd, enjoy your rukūʿ, enjoy your standing for Allāh. And if you remember Allāh in this manner, not just wanting rush it, but in the manner of enjoyment by knowing its meaning, knowing the greatness of it, and knowing the One Who is the Greatest, He is going to reward you. He is the One Who takes you out of hardship and difficulty when all else fails. Al-Fattāḥ; He opens for you doors of goodness. Al-Jawwād, as Ibn al Qayyim said, He is Generous with His Generosity, bestowing upon you blessing after blessing because you are upon the Remembrance of Allāh.
وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا
“And if you would count the graces of Allāh, never could you be able to count them. Truly! Allāh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 
Focus on who you are: Muslim—In shā Allāh, Mu’min—and striving to be Muḥsin. It is a test and time is running out but we still have time to make a change, starting today In shā Allāh.
 Sūrah Raʿd 13:28
 Sūrah al-Ḥadīd 67:16
 Sūrah al-Isrāʾ 17:9
 This ḥadīth is declared ḥasan by Shaykh al-Albānī (رحمه الله) and it is found in the Musnad of Imām Aḥmad, Sunan al-Tirmidhī, Nasāʾi, Ibn Mājah, Ibn Ḥibban, al-Ḥākim and al-Bayḥaqī.
 Sūrah al-Muṭaffifīn 83:14
 This ḥadīth is in Sunan Ibn Mājah, Sunan al-Tirmidhī and al-Ḥākim, and is ṣaḥīḥ.
 Bukhārī and Muslim
 Sūrah al-Rūm 30:7
 Sūrah Muḥammad 47:24
 Sūrah al-Nisāʾ 4:82
 Sūrah al-Ṣafāt 37:84
 Sūrah al-Ḥajj 22:46
 Sūrah al-Baqarah 2:10
 Sūrah Muḥammad 47:7
 Sūrah al-Māʾidah 5:91
 Sūrah al-Naḥl 16:18